No video is safe from advertising on YouTube now.
On Wednesday, the platform an update to its Terms of Service. The big takeaway: The Google-owned mammoth will begin to show advertising on videos that aren’t part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
This means that YouTube will show ads on videos where creators wouldn’t even receive a cut of the revenue. Previously, the company would only show ads on videos that could be monetized by the user that uploaded them to their channel.
According to YouTube, the change is due to “ongoing investments in new solutions, like Home Feed ads, that help advertisers responsibly tap into the full scale of YouTube to connect with their audiences and grow their businesses.”
While helping advertisers is a nice spin, let’s be honest, why would a company want to help its advertisers? In order to generate more revenue! And this is a way for YouTube to generate revenue from potentially all the content uploaded to the platform, not just the videos uploaded by users who explicitly consent to have their content monetized.
YouTube says that advertising will only be displayed on “brand-safe” content and advertisers will continue to have “brand suitability” control. Channel owners who are not part of the monetization program can also still apply once they reach a threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours over the past 12 months — a threshold that itself when it was rolled out in 2018.
In addition to the advertising policy change, YouTube changed terms for its partners as well. Payouts to users with monetized channels will now be “treated as royalties from a U.S. tax perspective,” according to the update. The company says that this means it will now withhold taxes from these payments when it’s required to do so. YouTube says creators will “generally be unaffected by these withholding taxes” if they provide necessary tax documentation in their Adsense account.
The update also includes an explicit ban on harvesting facial recognition data from the platform. YouTube says this has always been the case, but updated the terms to make it more clear.
YouTube’s new changes are effective from Wednesday in the U.S. and from mid-2021 elsewhere. They’re fairly significant, but they sort of flew under the radar for most of the day.
The company posted a link to the update in vague , without getting into the details of the changes. But, gradually, as more people actually read the link to the update, criticism of the policy changes started to roll in.
Basically, if you create videos and upload them to YouTube, then ads can now run on them whether you like it or not. And unless the channel owner is part of the monetization program, creators won’t even receive a cut.